Fake or Fortune tonight – Camille Pissarro and Paul Cezanne sketches

Could be worth £100,000

Fake or Fortune is back with a new episode tonight with the focus on potential works by Camille Pissarro and his friend and protege, Paul Cezanne.

Hosts Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould head to France in pursuit of the works of the two renowned artists.

Fiona explores the picturesque landscapes of Provence in search of a watercolour believed to be a gift from Cezanne to Anthony Valabregue, a close friend.

Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould with possible Cezanne and Pissarro sketches.
Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould with possible Cezanne and Pissarro sketches. Credit: BBC Studios/Anna Gordon

Dominique Rogers, Valabregue’s great-great-niece, owns the painting. It supposedly passed through Valabregue’s widow to her father in the 1920s. Fiona explores Cezanne’s home town, Aix-en-Provence, and the Mont Sainte-Victoire quarries, seeking connections to Dominique’s tree painting.

Crucial to establishing the painting’s provenance are investigations into the paper and palette, especially considering that Cezanne’s work was not typically copied during his lifetime. The unsettling possibility arises: could an admirer or even a forger have meticulously recreated the painting after Cezanne’s death?

Meanwhile, Philip ventures to Pontoise in northern France, where Pissarro resided with his family and fellow artists, including Cezanne. Pissarro’s love for depicting rural landscapes and hard-working country folk shaped his artistic focus.

A unique challenge awaits in the form of a drawing of cabbage sellers inherited by Zana Glaser from her father, Tom, an avid art collector. While the drawing’s outline and signature are attributed to Pissarro, its rejection by the Pissarro committee during a 2012 auction raises doubts. The committee believed that another hand had added the colouring.

Zana seeks the assistance of the Fake or Fortune team to determine if science can verify that both the outline and colouring were done simultaneously. Alternatively, could the colouring have been an attempt to enhance the drawing’s appeal and value, possibly by a member of Pissarro’s own artistic family?

The stakes are high. If the Pissarro proves authentic, it could be worth £50,000, but if not, its value may hover around £1,000, despite the outline being the work of the renowned artist.

As for the Cezanne, confirmation of its authenticity could skyrocket its value to a massive £100,000, given the artist’s growing popularity. However, if it’s a forgery, it might be worth virtually nothing. The team’s quest centres on gathering compelling evidence to sway the relevant authorities in their favour.

Fake or Fortune continues on BBC One on Tuesday, 10 October at 8PM. Last week’s episode featured a Sir Joshua Reynolds painting.

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